Facebook accused of providing misleading information about WhatsApp acquisition by European Commission

By Karthekayan Iyer | Published on 21 Dec 2016
Facebook accused of providing misleading information about WhatsApp acquisition by European Commission
HIGHLIGHTS

Facebook has time until January 31 to respond and if the Commission's concerns are confirmed, it can impose a fine of up to 1 percent of turnover

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The European Commission has accused Facebook of misleading the organisation with its takeover of WhatsApp. The European Commission claims Facebook provided misleading information leading up to acquisition of WhatsApp, opening up to a possible fine of 1 percent of its turnover.

The revelation comes days after EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager demanded Apple to pay back $14 billion in taxes to Ireland and also issued two market abuse investigations against Google. The EU competition commissions new statement won't affect Facebook's $22 billion purchase of WhatsApp, reports Reuters. The issue pertains to a WhatsApp privacy policy change in August that allowed messaging platform to share its users' phone numbers with its parent company, Facebook.

The change in WhatsApp's privacy policy triggered multiple EU authorities to investigate the move and Facebook recently agreed to suspend using WhatsApp users' data. At the time of acquisition, Facebook has indicated that it won't be able to reliably match the two companies' user accounts. "The Commission's preliminary view is that Facebook gave us incorrect or misleading information during the investigation into its acquisition of WhatsApp," Vestager told Reuters.

Facebook has time until January 31 to respond and if the Commission's concerns are confirmed, it can impose a fine of up to 1 percent of turnover, accounting to about $179 million. "We respect the Commission's process and are confident that a full review of the facts will confirm Facebook has acted in good faith, a Facebook spokeswoman said.

Facebook says it is willing to cooperate with the European watchdogs and plans to provide accurate information about company's technical capabilities.

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Karthekayan Iyer

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